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Review: The Mystery Princess

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The Mystery Princess  is the latest installment in Melanie Cellier's Return to the Four Kingdoms series . It contains many references to characters and events from her other fairy tale adaptations including The Princess Fugitive , A Dream of Ebony and White , and The Secret Princess . This book follows the same format as Melanie's other books in which a capable young lady intercepts a royal conspiracy, saves the day, and falls in love with a prince. Though it might be a bit predictable after all the other books she wrote that take place in this setting, that doesn't mean that it isn't interesting. Not only is this the first of Melanie's books to feature a dark-skinned heroine on the cover, but it is also a unique take on "Cinderella"  that changes many elements of the timeworn fairy tale to keep it fresh while remaining true to the heart of the story. Like all of Melanie's fairy tale books, The Mystery Princess  has a protagonist that long-time reade

Princess Syalis Is a Heroine We Can All Relate To!

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Princess parodies  may have been all the rage throughout the 21st century, but you've never seen one quite like this. Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle  is an anime comedy that explores what happens to a kidnapped princess while the hero is off trying to rescue her. However, Princess Syalis couldn't care less about being rescued. All she wants to do is get the most comfortable sleep she can possibly muster in her new castle. After all, what else is there to do when you are whisked away from your royal responsibilities and left alone in a nice room with lots of friendly demons as neighbors? Though Princess Syalis may have been kidnapped, she is no damsel in distress . In fact, the innocuous demon inhabitants of her new home soon become more like servants to her than captors. My favorite thing about this anime is that it rips apart the conception that kidnapped princesses are helpless victims who can't do anything but sit around and wait to be rescued. Not only does Syalis

Review: Time Princess - Taishō Adventures

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Barely even a week after their Phantom of the Opera visual novel came out, the Time Princess app released Taishō Adventures, an original story set in Japan that could not be more different than Phantom. This is the first new story that had more than one chapter since I started playing Time Princess, harkening back to its original three visual novels . It takes place during the Taishō era , a period of Japanese history that lasted from 1912 to 1926. Since this the same time period that Gotham Memoirs takes place, there is some overlap of the clothing styles. The setting in Taishō Adventures also incorporates some classic Japanese fashions including colorful kimonos and beaded floral accessories as well as many Japanese cultural references including idioms, fairy tales, and architecture. It delivers a satisfying resolution no matter which story path you take, which is more than I can say about Helen of Sparta or Shadows of London . It takes a little while to grasp the story in Taishō

Enchanted Kingdoms Review: Part 4

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In about a month and a half, I completed all 20 books from the Enchanted Kingdoms anthology . It was not easy to read this many novels in such a short period of time. I learned about a lot of terrific authors and some that I probably would not have been interested in reading otherwise. Each of the four sets of books I reviewed follow vague themes. The first five books  were contemporary retellings of well-known fairy tales. The second five  were horror and paranormal romance. The third set  included more traditional retellings, and these last books placed a spotlight on disabled characters  overcoming seemingly impossible odds. I thoroughly enjoyed this last set of books and even learned about some new fairy tales. Silent Melody  by Alice Ivinya This is a creative and beautiful retelling of "The Pied Piper of Hamelin."  It's one of the best books in this entire anthology and incorporates new ideas that fully flesh out the characters and settings in an otherwise simple sto

Let's Talk About True Love's Kiss

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Every so often, someone makes a silly complaint about a Disney Princess movie instilling poor morals, and I am always ready to defend it. The latest silly accusation stems from the opening of Snow White's Enchanted Wish  at Disneyland Park . This refurbished dark ride is a reimagining of the former  Snow White's Scary Adventures  with new animatronics  in honor of Disney's year-long Ultimate Princess Celebration . Amongst the new animatronic showcases is a pivotal scene from the classic 1937 animated film  in which the prince gives Snow White true love's kiss , reviving her from a deathly slumber so that she can be free to live out her happily ever after. A few days ago, two journalists from a publication called SFGATE released an article  complaining about this non-consensual kiss that has put the internet into an uproar. Let's discuss the moral ethics of true love's kiss. The concept of true love's kiss is not unique to "Snow White and the Seven Dwar

Review: Awaken

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Though I wasn't sure what to expect from Camille Peters'  new fairy tale book after reading the last one , I am pleased to say that Awaken  is now my favorite book in The Kingdom Chronicles along with  Identity . It may be no coincidence that these two books are connected by a recurring character, Archer, who was the brother of the protagonist in Identity  and the love interest of the protagonist in Awaken . This is a creative retelling of "Sleeping Beauty"  that focuses on a specific aspect of the 1959 Disney adaptation  rather than anything from the original fairy tale. It never ceases to amaze me how many creative ways  authors have found  to retell this story in a way that allows the sleeping princess to be more active  while remaining true to the heart of the original. The heroine from  Awaken  suffers from a bad case of amnesia. She refers to herself as Primrose even though she knows it isn't her real name. When she first encounters Archer in the woods and f

Review: Disney Princess Tales of Courage and Kindness

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As soon as I learned that yesterday's Ultimate Princess Celebration  came with a free ebook, I scoured the internet to find and read it. Tales of Courage and Kindness   contains 14 short stories that each feature a different official Disney Princess  and two bonus stories that about Queens Anna and Elsa that take place after  Frozen 2 . The book's illustrated novella format reminds me of a two-book series I found many years ago called Once Upon a Princess , which retold each princess's story from her point of view. This book differs from that format in that it is told in the third person narrative, but the compilation of different princess stories accompanied by beautiful illustrations is still similar. Each short story is written by a different author and illustrated by a variety of artists, each with their own unique and colorful style. There isn't much point in reviewing each short story individually when you can read them all for free online , so instead, I will go

Disney Launches the Ultimate Princess Celebration!

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Just when I thought Disney Princesses were going out of style , Disney came out and announced a year-long celebration of their beloved heroines! The Global Ultimate Princess Celebration  will roll out the red carpet with music, merchandise, and events devoted to the everlasting Disney Princess brand . I am overwhelmed by all of these announcements and don't even know where to begin. On May 21st, we will have a new Disney Princess anthem called "Starting Now" to replace Auli'i Cravalho's "Live Your Story" music video from 2018. The new song will be performed by Brandy, whose 1997 version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella  was recently revived on Disney Plus. "Starting Now" will also be featured in a Disney Channel special this august called Disney Princess Remixed - An Ultimate Princess Celebration . Does that sound like a royal title or what? The talented ladies  Broadway Princess Party have been licensed by Disney to perform in an

Review: Time Princess - Phantom of the Opera Visual Novel

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The Time Princess app has been releasing an endless stream of new visual novels with no sign of slowing down. I've been impressed with the amount of well-known stories the game developers have adapted lately that aren't based on popular fairy tales. The latest one is no exception. Phantom of the Opera  is a beloved story among princess fans due to its similarities to "Beauty and the Beast"  as well as the beautifully haunting melodies of the famous Andrew Lloyd Webber musical . The innocent protagonist who performs various onstage arias in glittering costumes, best friend side character, and classic love triangle make it a prime choice for this game's traditional visual novel story dynamics. That is probably why it is one of the only stories in the game that is presented exactly as it is without any sort of modern twist such as gender-bending the characters like they did for several other adaptations . In this dress-up visual novel, players take on the role of

Enchanted Kingdoms Review: Part 3

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This is the third part of my review for the massive Enchanted Kingdoms fairy tale anthology . You can find the first part here and the second part here  if you missed them. Today I am covering the first five books from the external file that is linked to at the end of the Amazon ebook. This was my favorite set of stories from this series so far. They stuck closer to the fantasy settings of original fairy tales than the previous books, which contained more sci-fi and horror. These are princess stories at their best, filled with more twists and turns than you would expect from a traditional fairy tale retelling, so let's dive right in! Crumbling Towers  by Anne Stryker This story is my favorite in this anthology so far. Not only is it the best "Rapunzel" adaptation I have ever read, but it is also one of the best fairy tale novels I have had the pleasure of experiencing. My only complaint is that it ended way too soon, which the author apologized for in her notes due to w

Are Villains the New Disney Princesses?

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When Disney released the trailer for their upcoming Cruella  movie a couple of months ago, the internet had a lot to say. I decided it would be best to stay in my own lane. After all,  101 Dalmatians  and its subsequent remakes are not Disney Princess movies . Then, it was announced last week  that a new movie featuring Cinderella's stepsisters, Anastasia and Drizella, is in the works. Suddenly, Cruella  didn't seem so irrelevant after all. It looks like villain-centered remakes are the next step in Disney's ongoing trend of poor decision-making  and the general dearth of creativity in Hollywood . Don't get me wrong; I thought Maleficent  was an excellent movie in its own right and quite innovative for the time period, but I wasn't expecting it to be the mold for a series of cookie-cutter screenplays about sympathetic villains after Disney ran out of animated classics to convert into soulless live-action remakes . I've seen tons of backlash for Cruella  from